Book Review: Mama Panya's Pancakes

Mama Panya's Pancakes was given to me by the publisher, Barefoot Books to review. Because the total value of the books given to me for review exceeded $40 I have donated them to my childrens' school library. If you buy the book using the Amazon link at the end of the post, I earn a small commission, and that income helps me keep the site going.

Mama Panya's Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin
Mama Panya's Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin

In this story, a mother and son walk from their village to the market to buy flour for pancakes. On the way, the son excitedly invites each of his many friends to join them for dinner. His poor mom, worried about how far she can stretch their limited flour clucks and worries about each new guest. At the end of the story, each guest arrives with a gift of food, and their feast is doubled many times over by their generosity.

This is a straightforward story, but what makes this book special is the illustrations that show what everyday life would be like for a child growing up in Kenya. The kids pored over the images of children herding cattle, market stalls, and women walking with baskets on their heads. This book also gave me a chance to talk with Everest and Darya about the idea that not everyone has all the food they might need or want without being melodramatic.

At the end of the story, several illustrated pages cover topics like Village life, local animals and plants, speaking Kiswahili, and other facts about Kenya (including a map). The kids were so drawn in by the story itself, that they wanted to learn more, and we spent just as much time reading those details as we had the story!

Reader Question: What are your favorite children's books about Africa?

Related Links:
Buy on Amazon: Mama Panya's Pancakes
Favorite Travel Books
More children's books about Africa

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